Fresh Oyster and Surry Bacon Stew

Fresh Oyster and Surry Bacon Stew

1 quart half-and-half cream
2 clam, seafood, or chicken bouillon cubes
7 tablespoons butter, divided
5 tablespoons flour
½ pound bacon, fine diced
½ cup finely diced yellow onion
½ cup peeled and finely diced celery
1 teaspoon white pepper
1 cup heavy cream
24 to 32 freshly shucked oysters1 teaspoon Tobasco sauce or favorite “hot” sauce

In a saucepan, heat the half-and-half cream with the bouillon cube until just under boil. In a separate saucepan, melt 6 tablespoons of butter and add the flour to make the roux. Continue to heat and stir the roux until it is smooth and returns to a boil. Then remove the roux from heat, add to the hot cream and whip constantly until the sauce begins to thicken. At first sign of boil, remove the thickened sauce from heat and transfer to a clean saucepan and set aside.

In a skillet or sauté pan, render the bacon until crispy, making sure the bacon is fully cooked before adding any other ingredients. When the bacon is crispy, keep all the bacon fat in the pan and add the onion, celery, and white pepper. Cook the onions and celery until tender and add all the rendered ingredients to the cream sauce. Get every bit of bacon fat, scraps, and goodies from the skillet. Stir the sauce until thoroughly combined and fold in the last tablespoon of butter and the heavy cream. This finishes the sauce.

To finish the appetizer, in a large sauté pan over medium heat, heat the oysters and “hot sauce”/ As the edges of the oysters begin to curl, add the sauce and reduce the heat to simmer, stirring constantly until hot and being careful not to overcook the oysters. Turn off the heat. Ladle the oysters evenly into six soup bowls then cover with remaining sauce. A garnish may simply be some additional crispy bacon or fresh chives.

Measuring cups and spoons, one-quart sauce pan, large sauté pan, cutting board, chef’s knife, wire whisk, and wooden spoon